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Food EyeSwoon Unplugged:

The Top 5 Most-Loved EyeSwoon Unplugged of 2021

Words by Sacha Strebe.

The Top 5 Most-Loved EyeSwoon Unplugged of 2021

While our individual paths are unique, there’s one thing that will always bring us together: Food. Gathering around a table to share a meal is a powerful tool for connection, collaboration, and intimacy. After all, everyone needs to eat so we might as well make it enjoyable, right? We have always believed in creating food that looks as good as it tastes. Why not devour a dish with your eyes first? For us, this feast of the retinas only enhances the flavor when we finally take that initial bite. Talk about a total sensory experience! And it seems you also follow this “eyes first, taste second” philosophy with our recipes archive being in the top five most popular categories on EyeSwoon this year. So, after diving into our annual statistics, we pulled the top five most popular recipes from EyeSwoon Unplugged in 2021. Turns out, you all really love fish!


This is a true one-pot meal. You just throw everything in the oven (or you can do as I did and add fennel, olive oil, and orange into a Staub pan) and roast it at 400 degrees so it gets a beautiful sear. Then you lower the temperature to around 275 and nestle fish and citrus in that same pot and roast slowly for around 30 minutes to let all of those flavors fuse together. You can use any citrus you have but for this recipe, I used lime, Cara Cara orange, and blood orange because that’s what I had on hand. I actually think lime is underutilized, people always tend to turn to lemon when they want to add citrus, but the lime is a really nice flavor and adds that unexpected zippy, acidity I’m after.


I have a feeling this is going to become one of your favorite weeknight meals. As soon as it starts to get a little cool, I want something that’s cozy, warming, and stew-like, but oftentimes I don’t want those heavy muted flavors with a typical meat stew. This shrimp dish has a lot of acidic lemon juice along with herbaceous flavors and the addition of white beans thickens it to amplify the heartiness. This meal really checks off all the boxes: comforting, tasty, and easy! You’re going to love it.


For years I was trying to make this meal and I failed. I was doing it wrong. I wasn’t getting the level of flavor out of this dish that I really yearned for. Everybody always says that when you cook fish in parchment you’re creating this envelope that everything steams within and a lot of people rave about how healthy and flavorful it is, too. However, I’ve always felt that it didn’t have the depth of flavor I wanted, even a little bland at times. But I was also comparing my version to one that Victor and I are obsessed with from Dell’anima, a restaurant that used to be in the West Village. I found out they were cooking their potatoes confit which essentially means slow-cooking the potatoes within olive oil and whatever flavor you want to infuse those potatoes with. So I parboiled mini Yukon potatoes, sliced them in half, popped them in a pot, and filled it with olive oil, citrus, garlic, shallots, and chili. After 20-30 minutes that flavoring is in all of those potatoes and even the olive oil has that flavor. So from there, I put my fish on parchment with citrus and then dollop that delicious potato on top, seal it up, pop it in a 400-degree oven for around 12 or 13 minutes and then you have this incredibly flavorful, delicious, and healthy and quick weeknight meal.


This is essentially a non-recipe recipe. I’ve been thinking a lot about how I like to build flavor, and how I build a dish changes from season to season. In the winter I’m more technical—think searing, roasting, pan-frying, etc.—whereas, in the summer, I don’t want to do any of that. It’s definitely more laid back and carefree because that is how we all feel in the warmer months. So today I’m building a dish from what I found in the farm stand, I don’t have a plan, but I want to build that confidence in you by sharing the tenants of my cooking style so you can figure out what they are for you, too. For me, I always start with something seasonal, something textural, something acidic, something brine-y (think capers and olives), and some sort of allium (garlic, shallot, scallion, or chive), something fresh like a herb, and something crunchy (fennel or pistachios) at the end. No matter what I’m making, I’m always playing with those opposing flavors that create friction or contrast on my palette. So, let’s create together!


This is one of my favorite cakes inspired by a cocktail that I drink all winter long: a blood orange old-fashioned. I love that bright acidity that citrus adds to an old-fashioned and married together with those warming flavors of both the bourbon and that subtle spice that you find in bitters. This recipe has a few interesting qualities. For one, it has almond meal in it (you can ground them up in a coffee grinder if you can’t find them at your local supermarket) and I love the nutty flavor it adds. And secondly, I love a moist cake so this has olive oil and Greek yogurt to bring that texture and consistency I crave.

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